Jan and Cora Gordon at the Baillie Gallery 1912

The Baillie Gallery at 13 Bruton Street, London exhibited art by Jan and Cora Gordon in late 1912 (The Observer, Nov 17, page 17). The reviewer was not impressed.

"Bizarrerie is the key-note of Mrs. Jan Gordon's designs..."

"She seems to have made a special study of the erotic suggestiveness of the Eastern dance. It is clear that this lady has received her training in Paris, and that she has imbibed the principles of the later Post-impressionists. In several of her water colours, and especially in the Fan design (No. 26), she proclaims herself a follower of Henri-Matisse. Her synthesis of the human figure in the act of dancing might be directly derived from that artist's decorative panel at the Grafton Galleries. But her whole style, her emphatic design and flat, strong colour, are singularly ill suited to the art of fan-painting, to which her energies are largely devoted, the very use of the fan should establish a fixed rule for the artistic treatment of this dainty instrument of coquetry. And daintiness is the last quality for which one would look in Mrs. Gordon's rather exotic art. In the same room are some pictures and etchings by Mr. Jan Gordon - exercises in highly coloured impressionism, that are rendered fussy and restless by the total absence of properly considered design."

This is presumably the first of the Gordons' London shows, mentioned in Jan Gordon's "GRADUS AD ... MONTPARNASSUM" (Blackwood's, March 1929, under his "Salis" pseudonym). Amusingly, Édouard de Max (1869-1924) was more taken by Cora's "rather exotic art" than The Observer's reviewer. The two Paris shows portrayed in "Gradus ad..." would be constrained to the year 1912, assuming that the chronology in the story represents the actual sequence of events, however the Paris shows actually took place in 1913, so there has been some blurring of details by the time the 1929 article was written.


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